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HOF RB Curtis Martin: 'I would rather get hit up top than hit down low'

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Curtis Martin played 11 seasons in the NFL. (USATSI)
Curtis Martin played 11 seasons in the NFL. (USATSI)

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The issues of concussions and if former players want to be compensated for them aren't going away, and lately this offseason, there's been an influx of coverage, thanks mostly to the inclusion (and subsequent exclusion) of Hall of Famer Dan Marino into one of the lawsuits vs. the NFL.

On Wednesday, Hall of Famer Curtis Martin -- a former Jets star running back -- weighed in on the topic, saying he'd rather take a shot to the head rather than lower in his body.

"The league has made it safer, but you can't avoid concussions... it's just natural physics when you have guys that big and that fast hitting each other at full speed," Martin said on CBS Radio. "I would rather get hit up top than hit down low."

Martin's take isn't that unique, especially among current or former players who were at risk for more knee injuries than perhaps ever before because of the NFL's recent focus on preventing helmet-to-helmet contact. Take Chad Johnson's tweet from last December.

To me, that's slightly off. I'd rather lose my career than my mind. But my perspective on the issue is so completely different than a current or former NFLer that it's almost like we're having a different conversation.

Either way, Martin's memory, he said, is just fine.

"I thought I was suffering memory loss from concussions, so I went to get tested ..." he said. "But not only do I not have any damage, I have the brain of a teenager and my brain works at accelerated levels."

Still, Martin wishes this latest league scrutiny on head injuries would have occurred when he was playing.

“I think what they've done is they've made the game as safe as possible,” Martin, 41, said. “I'm wishing that some of the changes that are in the game now were implemented when we were playing. I think I'd probably still be playing. But again, that's just something that I don't know if there will ever be an answer to. I mean, how do you prevent that? I think they're trying to do everything with the latest technology for helmets, equipment and things like that. They've cut back on practice. There's limited hitting. There's not too much that you can do unless you change the game of football -- which, I don't think anyone wants to (do).”

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